Young Chozen's debut album, Class President, is a modern hip-hop album that, I feel, is best aimed at the younger audience. Chozen took the route of theming his album around campus life, partying, and everything “swag”. The album was neither consistently good or bad. While one would conclude this results in a score of “average”, I don’t think that’s a fair assessment simply because each track has to be judged individually as well as part of a whole compilation.
*When reviewing this album on the basis of production and sound quality, my comments were based off my listening run-through on my studio monitors. I must say that the album sounded much better on my headphones. Towards the end of the album, you’ll notice that I decided to stop commenting so much on the sound quality. This is due primarily to the fact that your experience of the album will change greatly from one listening source to another. Overall, the album sounded pretty good on headphones and sub-par on my monitors.*
Favorites: 31 Status, I’m Gone, Stereo
Best Production: Class President, Drive Thru, I’m Gone
For my thoughts on the album, let’s get straight to the track reviews.
1. Class President
Young Chozen opens up his campaign with his title track, Class President. I think this was a wise move because it’s one of the better all-around songs on the album. It has a 90s feel to it and I really like the simple beat. He has some clever rhymes like I’ve come to expect from Chozen. This doesn’t surprise me at all. Chozen has always stood on being able to “have fun, love God, and be cool”. I commend him for this. Young Chozen obviously had a very specific theme in mind with this album and the title track really sums it up. While I think it’s great to let loose and have some fun, Chozen is a little all over the place on this track. I get the message he’s trying to portray, but he throws a lot of extra stuff in there that I wasn’t completely feeling.
2. Drive Thru
I really do like the beats on this album. Drive Thru has a nice feel to it. If Chozen wants his audience to be the younger generation and specifically the geeked up, “jerk” crowd, then tracks like this will help his cause. I can’t dance, but Drive Thru had me moving a little bit. He lost me on the second verse. He picks back up towards the end of the third verse, but it’s just a bit too gimmicky-feeling for me. I’m beginning to see that these tracks are definitely aimed towards a specific demographic. Unfortunately, I think Chozen alienates a lot of other potential listeners by being so similar with each track’s sound. Having said that, that’s exactly what he chose this album to be. On another note, too much food talk for me…even if it was the theme of the song.
3. Head Noddin’
My head was pretty still on Head Noddin’. Chozen slows his flow down a little bit on this track and I thought it was a nice, subtle change. I heard a lot of pointless self-exaltation on this track (mostly on the first verse) and it wasn’t very attracting to me. I just find it hard to put two and two together when it is stated that every line written is God-given, yet they aren’t filled with content that lines up with God’s character. Chozen is trying to reach the world, but I feel that he conforms to it a bit too much in Head Noddin’. Gaining the world as an audience isn’t worth obtaining if it takes us becoming less like our Creator. Since we’re pushing people to Him, we never want people to get the wrong picture of Him because of us.
4. Tell It All Around
Young Chozen tries to get his dubstep on with Tell It All Around. I do like the mini dubstep sections. I like the idea of the song too. The guitar was a nice addition also. But the track didn’t make it full-circle for me. It sounded like his vocals were a little too low on the verses and the synths were overpowering the vocals in many places. Tell It All Around felt a bit unfinished on the production side of things and this really distracted me from the rest of the song as a whole. His flow was pretty good on this track however.
Chozen tries to summon his inner rock star in Backyard. Again, I feel like the album has taken a dip in production since the first three tracks. I can barely hear the second voice in his phone call and that continues into his chorus. I still like the feel of the song. In the hook, this track actually reminds me of something I could hear Trip on (that’s a compliment in my book). The beat just seems louder than the vocals. I get the play on words with the party theme and stuff. But if Chozen isn’t careful, he could lead quite a few people that don’t see this underlying correlation into some real confusion. I’d like to see this song re-mixed and mastered. It has the potential to go really hard.
6. The Rock
Outside of more mixing inequalities, I like The Rock. There was a little too much reverb on the beginning vocals, but when the track picked up, it felt alright to me. Some of the levels may have still been off, but it was much better. I liked Chozen’s first verse. The message was on point and I like how he touched a variety of different demographics. After listening to the chorus again, it wasn’t as off as it feels initially. I think it’s more so the vocals before the first chorus that were a bit off. Chozen continued a nice flow into the second and third verses also. The Rock has been my favorite track on the album up until this point.
7. Think You Know Me
Young Chozen gets futuristic and creative on Think You Know Me. This track was interesting for me because it addresses a lot of the emotions I was feeling in previous songs. In the way Young Chozen speaks on this track, it seems that he probably takes a lot of heat about some of the things he says and the direction he chooses to go sometimes. I understand engaging culture, being relevant, and stylistic common ground. I think pursuing those aspects of music is an art in itself. It’s not easy to walk that fine line between engaging and conforming. I say that to say that this track personally challenged me to lift Chozen up in prayer, that God would continue to use Him and draw Him into a closer relationship with the Holy Spirit, like we all pray for our own lives. After all, the Holy Spirit is the only hope we have in knowing when we are crossing the line. Chozen has a lot of potential. He’s really got something here. I’m with Chozen. We can hear the hate and ask God to confirm or deny in us what is fair and what needs not our attention. Well played, Sir Chozen.
8. Lunch Time (Skit)
Young Chozen’s skit, Lunch Time, is light-hearted and humorous. “Looking like a rainbow push pop!’ I thought the rap exchange was clever and pretty cool, but I really couldn’t hear Chozen very well.
9. La La La Love
Nice message in La La La Love. Young Chozen takes from 1 Corinthians 13 speaking about love. There is reason God told us that love is above all other things. We can do anything that is considered great, but if it’s not rooted in love, it isn’t pleasing to the Father. The chorus is a bit off mix-wise, but the verse is on point. Chozen really had some great verses on this track. This song spoke so much to me. You really get a glimpse into Chozen’s heart for Christ and it’s quite beautiful. I think we can all relate to what Chozen relays in this song. The section of singing on the second verse fit well and sounded good. La La La Love was a nice change in the album. I’d like to see more of this from Young Chozen. Side note…I have a personal vendetta against songs named like this!
10. Pot of Gold
Chozen tells a love story with Pot of Gold. I actually enjoyed this track. The last two tracks have been a good break from the “jerk” style. Chozen speaks about a time in his life where he met a girl that he thought he might really have a future with. It wasn’t God’s plan, but instead, God was keeping him because he had someone else in mind. Chozen calls us to patience and trust in our Father’s perfect plan.
11. 31 Status
31 Status! In case anyone doesn’t know what 31 Status stands for, it’s in reference to Proverbs 31, which is a piece of Scripture on being a woman of God. I love the shout out to Proverbs 31 women on this track. The beat goes too! I liked the two different voice (high and low) in the hook. Chozen paints a pretty good picture of what men of God should be attracted to. I like how Chozen lays out, in question format, a few things that a Proverbs 31 woman does. Then he does a good job laying out the opposite of a Proverbs 31 woman. I liked what Chozen chose to do with the third verse. He just took some phrases and chopped them up and I feel that it worked. I must mention the pretty obvious feel that this track has in comparison to Ludacris’ “My Chick Bad”. 31 Status for the win though!
12. Here I Come
Here I Come has a unique sound to it. Chozen shares a little about where he’s been in relation to where he is now and how far he’s come. The chorus on Here I Come was enjoyable and fit this track well. I don’t feel like anything was forced on this track. It had a good flow to it. What I like about this track, especially in the second verse, is that I hear the subtle mentions to direct Scripture. That was lacking in other areas of the album. I was really pleased to hear Chozen speak on these things.
13. I’m So On
It was one skinny jeans reference too many for me with I’m So On. I wasn’t feeling this track at all. Between all the “swag” talk and obvious rhyme references, I’m So On didn’t evoke any positive responses from me.
14. Way Up There
More “swag”? I guess I really just wish Chozen would be a bit more original. Way Up There is more of the same that I’ve been feeling throughout most of this album. I would like to see more substance.
15. Set Em Up
Repitition can be a good thing, but it isn’t on this streak that Chozen continues with Set Em Up. As I’ve progressed over these past couple songs, the album has become less and less enjoyable for me. Chozen got lazy, even repeating exact phrases.
16. I’m Gone
I’m Gone was a much needed lyrical pickup for me. You know why? Because it was honest. I like transparency. While I would love to hear Chozen be a little more specific in what his past consisted of (there is power in the word of our testimony), he brought good content to this track. The hook was dope too. Best vocals by far on the album so far. Nice comeback track here. I challenge Chozen to tap into this beautiful openness more often. This is what will affect people. People can relate to this message because it’s real life.
Stereo is another good track. What I’m finding is that there are spurts on this album that I like and then spurts that I dislike. I wish Chozen would have broke up some of these tracks and slid them in between the upbeat tracks. They would have provided a nice break and I wouldn’t have had as much reason to focus on the bad. Stereo is a beautiful song, an outstanding display of feeling/emotion, and a good choice to end out the album.
18. School’s Out (Skit)
I like the message Chozen relayed in this final skit, School’s Out. I really wish it would have been in track form though. I understand that he’s saying, but I did not get that same message from some of his tracks. Now I see his intentions, but I’m not sure he executed and relayed that message in an effective way consistently throughout the album.
Class President was hit and miss for me. I thought there were really good moments (31 Status, I’m Gone, Stereo) and, unfortunately, really bad moments (I’m So On, Way Up There, Set Em Up). I felt that a better arrangement of the tracks (breaking up some of the same styles with different ones) could have done Chozen a lot of good. My least favorite tracks on the album came in succession. I’m a bit confused on the production, left only being able to tell you guys that I had two totally different listening experiences going from monitors to headphones. That leaves me no choice but to say that not being universally consistent across the board is a negative aspect of Class President.
Young Chozen can be great when he really wants to be. While I do believe that this album was supposed to follow the layout that it did, I would encourage him to go deeper and push further to tap into a bit more substance. As a listener over twenty years old, it was a bit hard to get into some of these tracks. Chozen has a heart for Christ. That’s evident when he talks, but not as consistently evident when he raps and sings. I hope Chozen keeps working hard at this and progresses in sharing his love for God in his music.
As always, let’s lift Young Chozen up in prayer as we would pray for ourselves: to be led and guided into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ so that he is able to effectively spread the Gospel and help lead a generation in the admiration of the Lord.
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BONUS: Young Chozen - The Campaign Mixtape